The Gravity of the Situation

By: Ben Borthwick

Published: September 22, 2009 Posted in: Review

This week I have mostly been throwing myself off of buildings at high speeds. No, I have not just joined the Lemming Stunt Diving Team, but instead have been playing AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity (Which I will henceforth refer to as just Aaaaa.) It’s a relatively simple concept, chuck yourself from a high building and land at the bottom without turning your bones into fine paste, but it has a few twists to make that descent a little more interesting.

Aaaah: Screenshot 2

Your initial task, first and foremost, is to land safely by deploying your parachute, preferably in the red circle to net the most amount of points. Then there’s the glass plates littered throughout the vertical levels, daring you to plummet yourself through them for the points shown upon them. Of course, simply jumping and falling on it’s own isn’t enough, so you’re also rewarded for tempting fate as much as possible – stay close to the walls to earn hugs and kisses and net extra points. Later on in the game you also get the ability to salute your fans and flip off protesters, a can of spray paint used to tag marked buildings and a caffeine powerup which helpfully slows down time to help with the more tricky sections of your decent. All these aim to help you in some way improve your score, in addition to extras which vary between levels revealing a surprising amount of depth to each level, prompting repeat runs to beat your previous score.

And that’s the crux of the game, really – high score chasing. It’s what it’s all about, and with so many ways to do it, it can feel like a bit of a shame there’s no way yet to compare to your friends. High Score tables are included with the Steam version of the game, but those are overall ones and thus can occasionally feel like a bit of an impossible feat to accomplish for those of us who are not dedicated high score chasers. What would be fantastic in my opinion is the inclusion of a friends only leaderboard – things like this are usually far more fun beating people you know.

Aaaah: Screenshot 1

Mind you, the game has a brilliantly unique personality – the cyberspace vibe certainly gives the game a futuristic feel, and extra credit has to be given for the very funny humour throughout in the graphics, the sound and the frequently bizarre videos that crop up through this game. Developers Dejobaan really have left their mark on this game, and it’s certainly a refreshing change from the sterility of other more commercial releases. Throwing yourself from tall buildings never quite gets old either, and the controls are perfectly simple to let you concentrate on the plummet itself. Avoiding buildings, pipes, scaffolding and birds is almost exhilarating and you do feel rather vulnerable the closer you get to the ground. This has the benefit of making those moments when you just miss clipping something by inches feel that much more sweeter. The level progression also has to be commended – rather than being strictly linear, successful jumps net you teeth which can be then used to unlock new levels from a selection of them.

So overall, it’s a decent enough indie game – although I do recommend the Steam purchase as your purchasing outlet of choice, and I really hope that Dejobaan make good on their promise of updates to the game, other than the leaderboard the main criticism I can level at the game is that a third person mode would be helpful for the very tricky sections. If you’re the sort of person who loves high score chasing you’ll get a far more enjoyment out of this for a while, but to everyone else this is still a very enjoyable jaunt and is well worth a punt.

Aaaah: Screenshot 3

AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAAA! is available now from Steam and Dejobaan’s website.

Ben Borthwick